Exercise rider listed as critical Suffers head injuries

accident is third in four days at Pimlico

April 05, 1993|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Staff Writer

An exercise rider is in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Sinai Hospital after a horse apparently flipped and fell on top of her yesterday morning during training on the track at Pimlico Race Course.

Kathy Driscoll, 30, of New Freedom, Pa., was galloping For All, a 7-year-old gray gelding, for trainer Ron Cartwright when the horse apparently tripped on a loose leg bandage, somersaulted and landed on Driscoll.

Contacted last night, Driscoll's fiance, George Beltone, said Driscoll broke her back and an arm and has bleeding inside her skull. He said that she drifts in and out of consciousness and is scheduled for surgery at 1 p.m. today to determine the extent of her head injuries. Both of her eyes are black and swollen shut, and she suffered facial cuts, he added.

Officials at Sinai would not release any information, other to say that Driscoll's condition is listed as critical.

According to Cartwright, who was not at the track at the time of the accident, For All was not hurt.

It is the third serious accident to occur at Pimlico in the last four days. In that time, two horses have died and two exercise riders have been hospitalized.

Last Thursday, the 3-year-old colt Fox Brush was electrocuted in the starting gate during morning training hours when a short occurred in a cable that was draped over the gate. His exercise rider, Richard Clayton Beck, was injured by the electrical current, but he was released after spending one day at Sinai. Tests showed he did not have heart, muscle or kidney damage, Beck said.

On Friday, the 3-year-old gelding Alaska Bound broke his left front leg during the running of the first race and was destroyed by a track veterinarian.

No eyewitnesses could be found for yesterday's accident, which occurred at about 9:15 a.m. Donna Lockard, a trainer and exercise rider at Pimlico, said she had just finished working a horse when she galloped by and saw Driscoll lying on the ground near the seven-eighths pole.

Lockard said that pony girl Carla Knoll was with Driscoll. "As I galloped by," Lockard said, "I yelled to Carla and asked her if Kathy was breathing. She shook her head 'no.' So I galloped to the nearest gap, handed someone my horse and ran back to Kathy."

Lockard, a CPR instructor and trained emergency medical technician, said she arrived on the scene before the track ambulance got there.

"Carla and I just stayed with her, talking to her, taking her pulse and trying to reassure her," Lockard said.

Eventually, Driscoll was taken by track ambulance to the chute near the starting gate and transferred to a city ambulance, which then transported her a couple of blocks to Sinai.

Track physician Dr. Jerome Coller said this is standard track procedure since there is only one ambulance at Pimlico and it is not allowed to leave the grounds.

"When something like this happens, the emergency room at Sinai is contacted immediately and a city ambulance is dispatched within seconds," he said.

Beltone said Driscoll is a lifelong horsewoman who has worked for Cartwright for about three years. One of her regular mounts is stakes winner Little Casino, who is now resting on the farm from injuries.

* Cormorant's Flight, one of the other horses Cartwright trains, scored a front-running victory in the $75,000 Caesar's Wish Stakes under jockey Mike Luzzi yesterday.

It was the third straight stakes victory for the filly, who will now be pointed for the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico on May 14.

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